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Singin' the cruise is truly Hell on Earth

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04.04.2020

Why would you? Seriously? Picture: Getty Images

What will Hell be like once one arrives there? What if (horror!), it turns out to be a gigantic cruise liner on an eternal cruise?

Cruise ships and ocean cruises are on all our minds at the moment because of the terrible plights thousands of cruise passengers have found/find themselves in in these foul, contaminating COVID-19 times. Cliché-prone commentators keep saying that these cruise ships are "floating petri dishes" of viruses.

But even before all this, cruise ships have loomed large in my nightmares because a cruise on a cruise liner (it is something I would never, ever do) has always been my idea of Hell.

In Jean-Paul Sartre's play No Exit three characters, just deceased, find they are being punished by being locked in a room together for eternity. Soon getting on one another's nerves they find, famously, that "Hell is other people" in keeping with Sartre's certainty as an atheist there is no such Hell as the ludicrously action-packed supernatural one the Church describes.

I mention this because, cruise averse, blissfully happy with my own company (or, better still with the company of a dog) I never think of ocean cruises without thinking simultaneously of Sartre's insightful play. It is true that an ocean cruise doesn't last for eternity (although for some of us it would feel as if it did) but the principle, being stuck somewhere with people one can't get away from, is the same.

I am........

© Canberra Times